Bodegas Olarra was created in 1973. Situated on the outskirts of the city of Logroño in Rioja Alta, their winery – a Y-shaped building designed to make optimum use of the space for both production and ageing of the wine – is known as “the Cathedral of La Rioja”. From the beginning, the winery has known how to combine the traditional methods of production and ageing with the most advanced modern techniques of viticulture and vinification. A favourable geographic location, gives the vineyards all the ingredients to produce good fruits. Indeed the clay and chalky soil is watered by the rain and the Ebro river. This area also benefits from warm sunshine and the influence of the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. In 1978, Bodegas Olarra achieved their first Gold medal for a Cerro Añon wine in the tenth International Wines and Spirits Competition in the UK. Numerous awards followed from then on, proof of the outstanding quality of their wines.
The 2016 vintage was officially classified as Very Good by the Rioja Control Board (Consejo Regulador) and was the earliest in the history of the Rioja appellation. September in particular was key to attain this vintage’s high level of quality. As a general remark, Olarra's wines from this vintage have a high level of fruitiness, soft, elegant tannins, great potential for aromatic development and outstanding conditions for ageing. The grapes for Cerro Añon Crianza are mostly drawn from their vineyards in Rioja Alavesa, although some from Rioja Alta are also included. The average vine age is around 20 years and the main soil pattern in the vineyards is the well-known limestone/clay mix found in most of north-west Rioja. Harvests took place in mid-September, yielding very healthy fruit and a ripeness level unprecedented at that time of year.
85% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo and 5% Graciano.
Maceration time was 15-16 days with daily pumping-over (remontage) in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature of 27ºC. One third of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation in new 225-litre French and American oak casks, while the remaining two-thirds underwent malolactic in concrete tanks.
Barrel ageing was conducted in 225-litre oak casks/barricas, of which 80% were made of American wood. This lasted fourteen to fifteen months with regular racking. Barrel ages ranged from brand new to 7 years. After fining and bottling, the wine remained Olarra's bottle cellar for a minimum of seven months before the started of release.
At the time of release, this showed a deep purple red with crisp raspberry aromas. On the palate, similar aromas came through followed by layers of spiciness, a firm but velvety mouthfeel and a long clean finish.
This is one of those not-so-frequent examples of a Crianza that will improve for the next 5 to 7 years.
See also blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Bodegas Olarra.
The Bush Telegraph is a fun and colourful new Australian brand. Using popular Australian grape varieties and blends these wines are now available at a very reasonable price point.
This full-bodied wine displays aromas and flavours of blackberries, bramble fruit, coffee and violets. This wine has a soft tannin structure.
Caruso & Minini are a part of new revival in Sicilian wine. Smaller wineries have sprung up in the past decade with private investment and a strong interest in the potential of the native grapes from Sicily. One example is Caruso & Minini. When Mario Manini met Stefano Caruso it sparked a long-held dream to produce a wine in the historical winemaking region of Marsala in Western Sicily. The Terre di Giumara range focuses on these unique and delicious Sicilian grapes.
This wine is a blend of Frappato and Nerello Mascalese.
To see an information and tasting sheet for this wine that has been prepared by the team at Caruso & Minini, please click on the blue link below.
Caruso & Minini are a part of new revival in Sicilian wine. Small wineries have sprung up in the past decade with private investment and a strong interest in the potential of the native grapes from Sicily. One example is Caruso & Minini. When Mario Manini met Stefano Caruso. it sparked a long-held dream to produce a wine in the historical winemaking region of Marsala in Western Sicily.
For decades the Perricone (or the so-called pignatello) had been the undisputed leader of the red grapes in western Sicily. A careful vinification has transformed the prickly character into a incomparable personality: a one of a kind wine. Rich with red fruits, mixed with notes of liquorice, a typical expression of the relationship between the variety and its land. Wine of great power and harmony while expressing, at the same time, a fresh and lively character.
This wine is a great match for charcuterie and other salty antipasti, aubergine dishes, veggie pies and cheeses.
Awarded 84 points and Commended status by Decanter in their April 2019 Panel Tasting on Chilean Carmenère.
Château Los Boldos was founded in 1991 and is situated 100km south of Santiago in the foothills of the Cachapoal Andes. Working with a portion of old vines originally planted in 1948, the focus from the onset has been on the production of premium wines. The estate has been transformed since it was purchased by Sogrape in 2008. Renowned soil scientist and viticultural consultant Pedro Parra (of Clos des Fous) was brought in to assess the plots and match the right variety to the different soils around the estate. The type of rootstock, planting density, orientation and the frequency of irrigation were all within Pedro’s remit, and the results are now being seen in the wines, especially since Victor Arce, previously of Perez Cruz, joined as winemaker in 2015.
Los Boldos has 170 hectares of vineyards which benefit from a Mediterranean climate. The clear, bright skies during the summer and the diurnal temperature range are ideal for growing fruit that maintains fresh acidity while ripening to perfection. The nearby Cachapoal river also moderates temperatures, while stony alluvial soils in the vineyard ensure low yields. Los Boldos makes wine exclusively from their own vineyards, thereby controlling everything from grape to bottle.
The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks for eight days at temperatures between 25-28°C before undergoing malolactic fermentation. The wine was then aged for six months in oak (60% French, 40% American) to soften tannins and add complexity.
With an intense, deep ruby colour, the wine has red and black cherry notes with black pepper and chocolate on the finish. Its rounded texture and fruitiness give it an appealing, plush mouthfeel.
At Bodegas San Valero, tradition and innovation go hand in hand in the production of a wide range of wines that are consistantly enjoyable. Constant innovation, respect for tradition and oenological excellence are the three guiding priciples under which their wines are made. They produce a wide range of red, white, rosé and sparkling wines using their 70 years of tradition and knowledge in winemaking as well as utilising the most up to date production control techniques.
Made from Tempranillo and Garnacha, this easy-going red boasts dark berry fruits with a hint of pepper on the finish.
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo has long been a staple value red in Italian trattorias in the UK, but the appellation has in recent years seen several ambitious winemakers push the boundaries of quality ever higher. This has resulted in some fantastic accolades for the region's top wines in the Gambero Rosso, and one such winning producer is Fratelli Barba.
This wine is aged in stainless steel as well as French and American oak casks.
Full of cherry and plum fruit, and classic almond character on the nose. Full-bodied, great rustic texture, with very well integrated tannins and elegant finish.
Charles Back, the owner of Fairview, is also the man behind Goats do Roam, which was launched in 1999. Goats do Roam is rare in that it is an amusing and original proposition allied to wines of good quality and value for money. Normally, these 'concept' wines put more money into marketing than into quality but, characteristically, Charles has done the opposite. The fruit for Goats is sourced primarily from Paarl, Malmesbury and Paardeberg. The 'legend' goes that some errant members of Fairview's long established goat herd, supplier of milk for Fairview's internationally award-winning cheeses, escaped one afternoon from their paddock into the Fairview vineyards when Charles Back's young son Jason accidentally left the paddock gate open. The little group happily roamed among the vineyards, showing rare discernment by selecting some of the ripest berries from some of the choicest vines. Their selection serves as the inspiration for the blends of these wines.
This 100% Fairtrade multi-varietal blend comes from vineyards across South Africa's Western Cape. The Shiraz is soucred from trellised vineyards in the Paarl, Stellenbosch and Swartland regions, the Grenache from Piekenierskloof, Paarl and Swartland, the Carignan and Mourvèdre primarily from dryland bushvines in the Swartland and the Petite Sirah from the decomposed granite soils of Paarl.
April and May were very hot and dry with winter arriving late in most regions but was sufficiently cold to break dormancy although rainfall was still below average. Warmer weather in August contributed to an early, even budburst, October and November were characterised by cool nights and warm days, which were perfect for flowering and berry set. The growing season and especially harvest time will be remembered for cooler nights and warmer, drier days and resulted in healthy vineyards.
The grapes were destalked and lightly crushed into stainless steel tanks, with each grape variety fermented separately. The must was inoculated with Rhône yeasts and pump-overs were done up to four times a day during fermentation. After alcoholic fermentation, the wines were racked to tanks and barrels for malolactic fermentation. The wine was then matured in both tanks and barrels prior to blending, stabilization and bottling.
Bright ruby in colour, this wine shows blackcurrant, plum and spice on the nose. Medium bodied with firm tannins, the youthful palate has generous berry fruit and hints of vanilla spice from the oak.
Il Faggio is made by Alana McGettigan, at one of the region's best co-operatives in the northern part of the Abruzzi. The aim is to capture in the bottle the power and intensity of the grape, together with a lift and freshness which is seldom found in wine from this region. The name, Il Faggio, derives from the fabulous beech trees which proliferate in this area, especially in the Abruzzo national park.
The grapes for this wine were grown on the hills and flatter vineyards surrounding the town of San Salvo in Abruzzo.
The 2017 harvest was 30% smaller than previous years. A cold winter with heavy snowfall was followed by high temperatures in spring and summer with little rain to relieve the vines. This climate favoured the red varieties, which resulted in excellent red wines.
Only the best quality grapes were chosen for this blend, from primarily hand-harvested fruit. At the winery the grapes were de-stemmed, crushed and pumped to stainless steel tanks where the must was innoculated with selected yeast strains and fermented for about 6 days at temperatures up to 34°C. Regular pump overs took place, more frequently during the first few days, to increase extraction which became less frequent towards the end of the fermentation process. After pressing, the wine was transferred to tank for malolactic fermentation to take place.
A deep ruby red in colour, with lifted notes of dark fruits, plums and cherries with a hint of mocha. This wine has soft, ripe tannins and a delicious chocolate-cherry finish.
The 2012 vintage was Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in August 2017 (see blue link below).
Molise is located in the southern part of Central Italy. Only 2% of its production is graded as DOC. Hillside vineyards with excellent exposure, morainic and calcareous soils together with a combination of maritime and continental climate provide a favorable terroir for the cultivation of vines. The 15 to 25 year old vines are trained in the Sylvoz and Spur Cordon fashion, with 2800 to 3300 vines planted per hectare, yields are around 110 hl/ha. Grapes were hand and machine harvested in late September.
Made from equal thirds of Aglianico, Montepulciano and Trebbiano. Traditional vinification with 10-12 days of maceration at a controlled temperature of 25°-26°C. The wine is aged for 18 months in large oak barrels, and the for 18 months in stainless steel tanks.
Purply red colour that will develop to garnet with age. The bouquet is complex and intense with hints of blackberry jam. On the palate the wine is velvety and harmonious with pleasant, firm tannins.
The wine pairs well with roast meats, game, pheasant or salami. Serve at 18-20° (ie really quite warm!)
The Wildcard wines are named after Sky Masterson, the gambler hero of the musical Guys & Dolls. Peter Lehmann Wines was originally named Masterson Wines between 1977 and 1981, as it was the biggest gamble ever taken by Peter Lehmann and the growers. The wines are soft and forward and easy drinking but still bear the hallmark quality of head winemaker Nigel Westblade and his team. “We buy grapes, not bulk wine, as we can make a much better wine that way,” he says.
Peter Lehmann Wines has established a close partnership with growers across South Australia, enabling the production of a rich and vibrant wine with strong varietal definition.
The fruit was fermented on skins for five to seven days with frequent pumpovers, prior to pressing. After clarification, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation in tank. It was then transferred to oak for four to six months to build complexity and texture without compromising fruit intensity, and was bottled young, under screwcap, to retain freshness.
This wine is vibrant red with a dark purple hue. It has rich aromas of plum, blackcurrant and raspberry on the nose. A uniquely Australian blend, the Shiraz provides layers of ripe plum and mocha that integrate seamlessly with mint and blackcurrant flavours from the Cabernet Sauvignon. The resulting wine is the perfect balance of fruity, savoury and spice characters.
The winery was created in 1997, when Dorina Lindemann moved from Germany to Portugal and devoted herself to the production of wine. Today, Dorina and her two daughters, Julia and Luisa continue to be passionate about the indigenous vines of Alentejo. It is the relationship between their wine and the terroir of Quinta da Plansel that has enabled them to work towards a precision driven style of viticulture.
Quinta da Plansel is situated about 100km from Lisbon, in the southeastern part of the city of Montemor-o-Novo. They have around 75 hectares of vineyards that are an integral part of the DOC area of Évora. This region has a temperate climate of Mediterranean characteristics. The temperatures fall quickly with the sunset and, with the maritime influence, night-time temperatures are below 18 ºC. The cool nights guarantee good acidity in the wines and a favourable aromatic profile.
This wine is 50% Touriga Nacional, 40% Aragonez (Tempranillo) and 10% Trincadeira.
To see an excellent information sheet and tasting note for this wine that has been produced by the team at Quinta da Plansel, please click on the blue link below.
At Red Rock they believe that there are as many hidden depths to Uluru as the amount hard work done unobtrusively by the vines in their effort to produce good quality grapes. These include spreading their roots underground in order to find water and nutrients in the soil. We often overlook the effort that the vines go through to produce a wine that is enjoyable and everyhting that you would hope for.
This is a modern take on Australian wine, concentrating on elegance and freshness. Red Rock shows new wave Australian winemaking at its best. This medium bodied Shiraz has lucious aromas of dark red fruit with just a hint of spice. This is a wine that is equally happy when matched with food or as a drink to enjoy with friends.
They say that a good wine needs time to reveal its qualities, but it also needs dedication and constant commitment. Few products can embody so much expertise and thousands of years of history as those made by Botter. It has passed through the careful hands of three generations for whom wine was a passion as well as a trade. They have responded to the constantly evolving market over time, in a process of ongoing expansion. The Tor Del Colle brand is part of the Botter stable.
To see a comprehensive tasting note for this wine, please click the blue link below.
The wines of Villa dei Fiori are created to express a specifically Italian style.
Using native Italian varieties, the winemakers work diligently to create a wine that expresses everything people love about the true Italian character - Purity of fruit, earthy, rustic tones and fantastic acidity, making them the perfect partner for food.
Typical of Primitivo, this wine has a rich, deep colour with enticing aromas of ripe red berry fruit, liquorice and a hint of tar. It is full bodied with a gorgeous fruity finish, warm spices and powerful but perfectly balanced tannins.